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Smart grid project demonstrates benefits of infrastructure modernization

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, October 11, 2012

News on the smart grid is often riddled with big talk of planned projects that are still years away from actualization, but some of the most exciting work on the smart grid has already been completed, and the benefits are clear, Smart Grid News reports.

According to the news source, several smart grid projects are already buzzing with energy and doing exactly what they were meant to do, however, the installation of synchrophasors in the Midwest power grid could be one of the most impressive to date.

In the Midwest, regional independent system operator MISO is now working with 161 synchrophasors, also known as Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), that have been integrated with its 50,000 mile electric distribution network. MISO said it is using the intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) to remotely monitor critical aspects of grid data, such as system modeling and post-event analysis.

The grid operator implemented a dynamic model enhancement process by analyzing the results from the PMUs, which provided MISO officials with information that led to more accurately determined system transfer limits. By doing so, MISO says, it has ensured utilities operate more reliably and efficiently by paving the way for the bulk electric system to safely operate nearer to its maximum threshold. The program was paid for in part by a $17.3 million stimulus grant from the Department of Energy.

MISO's after-the-fact analysis capabilities allow the grid operator to analyze specific grid activity or issues, and to develop resolutions that could prevent larger threats from damaging the system and affecting grid reliability, the media outlet stated.

"Synchrophasor data provides a powerful analytical tool to help us better understand system activities and observed abnormalities. Analyzing that data after-the-fact is crucial to better understanding the impact of events on the power system," said Richard Doying, vice president of operations at MISO. "This enables predicting when and why these situations take place so we can prevent them in the future. At the same time, incorporating this new-found knowledge into our models means being able to test for conditions ahead of time and improving our operating guidelines to ensure long-term grid reliability."

The huge amount of data that can be derived from such IEDs has created some issues for utilities. Fortunately, SUBNET's Unified Fault File Management can help companies collect, archive and view all fault records, which are automatically gathered from several relays and sent to protection and operation personnel within minutes.

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